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Biopsychosocial baseline values of 15 000 patients suffering from chronic pain: Dutch DataPain study
  1. Brigitte Brouwer1,
  2. Sophie Waardenburg1,2,
  3. Christian Jacobs1,
  4. Marjori Overdijk1,
  5. Carsten Leue1,3,
  6. Albère Köke4,5,6,
  7. Sander van Kuijk2,
  8. Maarten van Kleef1,
  9. Jan Van Zundert1,7 and
  10. Nelleke de Meij1
  1. 1Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, University Pain Centre Maastricht (UPCM), Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Medical Technology Assessment, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  3. 3Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  4. 4Department of Rehabilitation Medicine/CAPHRI, School for Public Health and Primary Care, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands
  5. 5Adelante Centre of Expertise in Rehabilitation and Audiology, Hoensbroek, The Netherlands
  6. 6Faculty of Health and Technology, Zuyd University for Applied Sciences, Heerlen, The Netherlands
  7. 7Department of Anesthesiology and Multdisciplinary Pain centre, Ziekenhuis Oost Limburg, Genk, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to Dr Nelleke de Meij, Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre+, Maastricht, Limburg, The Netherlands;{at}


Background and objectives Chronic pain affects many adults. To improve our daily practice, we need to understand multidisciplinary approaches, integrated treatment plans and the biopsychosocial context of these patients. To date, almost 15 000 chronic pain patients have been referred to the Maastricht University Pain Center in the Netherlands.

Methods This study describes 11 214 of these patients suffering from chronic pain. Chronic pain was analyzed using relevant Initiative on Methods, Measurement, and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials instruments.

Results Most patients were female (59.3%). The prevalence of low education was 59%, and unemployment/disability was 35.9%. The mean age was 55.6 years. Severe pain (Numerical Rating Sale score 7–10) was reported by 71.9% of the patients; psychological and quality of life values deteriorated when pain severity increased. Approximately 36% of patients showed severe signs of depression or anxiety, and 39% displayed high pain catastrophizing. Of all patients, 17.8% reported high values for pain severity, catastrophizing and anxiety or depression.

Conclusions Based on baseline biopsychosocial values, this study shows the complexity of patients referred to pain centers. Pain management with a biopsychosocial approach in an integrated multidisciplinary setting is indispensable. Above all, adjusted education on chronic pain and attention to its biopsychosocial aspects are deemed necessary.

  • pain management
  • chronic pain
  • outcomes
  • epidemiology
  • pain measurement

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  • Contributors The final manuscript was reviewed and approved by all authors, and they have taken care to ensure the integrity of the work. The material in this manuscript has not been published and is not being considered for publication elsewhere in whole or in part in any language.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Ethics approval Patients provided informed consent, and ethical clearance was obtained from the medical ethical committee.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. Data can only be obtained by the principal investigator and corresponding author, Nelleke de Meij, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine, Maastricht University Medical Centre, Post box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, the Netherlands; telephone number: +31 43 3872335; fax number: +31 43 3875457.